CU's National Snow and Ice Data Center posts avalanche awareness pages on web

October 07, 1999

The massive slab avalanche in Tibet Oct. 5 that claimed the lives of American mountain climber Alex Lowe and photographer David Bridges is a sobering reminder of the risks skiers and backcountry enthusiasts confront in the mountains each winter.

To assist with preparedness, the University of Colorado at Boulder-based National Snow and Ice Data Center has posted avalanche awareness information on its Internet home page at http://www-nsidc.colorado.edu/ . The material discusses avalanche basics such as ways to evaluate snowpack stability, recognize danger signals and evaluate survival gear and offers links to related sources, said NSIDC Outreach Coordinator Annette Varani.

Each year, avalanches claim more than 150 lives worldwide and many more people are partially buried or injured by sliding snow, said Richard Armstrong, a glaciologist and avalanche expert at NSIDC. The numbers of victims have steadily increased over the past few decades with the increased popularity of winter sports such as backcountry skiing and snowmobiling.

A former Boulder resident, Lowe was named the world's best mountain climber in a March cover story in "Outside" magazine. Bridges, an Aspen resident, was a two-time national paragliding champion.
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NSIDC is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a joint venture of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The telephone number for NSIDC is (303) 492-6199 and the e-mail address is nsidc@kyros.colorado.edu .

The center also has avalanche material permanently available on the Web at: http://www-nsidc.colorado.edu/NSIDC/EDUCATION/AVALANCHE/ ).

University of Colorado at Boulder

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